When Recruiters Act More Like Salespeople, Companies and Candidates Both Benefit

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In many organizations, the sales team is valued as having the greatest impact on the company’s bottom line. They use tactics such as sourcing leads through social media to garner interest and keep in touch with past clients, in the hopes of eventually turning prospects into buyers.

If you stop and think about it, recruiters are more or less salespeople. In fact, many people believe recruiting doesn’t even fall under the HR umbrella. Both recruiting and sales are all about connecting with people at the right time and convincing them your company offers the best opportunity. The strategies are strikingly similar; the real difference lies in what each is selling.

Given the similarities, recruiters could optimize their efforts and attract more candidates by utilizing some of their sales counterparts’ strategies. Let’s take a look at how recruiters can equip themselves with specific sales tactics to better sell a company’s brand during the hiring process.

Source Candidates Anywhere You Can

If an organization wants to grow, salespeople need a constant flow of leads they can turn into customers. Building such a continuous pipeline of leads requires that salespeople always be prospecting. In the past, salespeople would attend trade shows and make cold calls; today, many combine these traditional techniques with social media and other digital outreach avenues.

Recruiters are in a similar spot. Where once career fairs and cold calls reigned supreme, recruiters can now leverage digital job boards like Indeed and social media sites like LinkedIn to constantly connect with prospects. Candidates can even apply for jobs through many of these sites, allowing recruiters to manage much of their candidate flow inside a single platform.

Recruiters, then, should take a page from the salesperson’s book: Always be prospecting for potential candidates, wherever they might be.

Software Is a Friend, Not a Foe

Today, most salespeople use a customer relationship management (CRM) systems to  automate tasks, make informed decisions, and keep customer data organized.

Recruiters have a similar tool at their disposal, in the form of an applicant tracking system (ATS). Depending on your ATS, you can likely store candidate information, schedule interviews, check references, and complete new hire paperwork within the same software. When an applicant applies for a position online, their contact information, experience, educational background, and other relevant documents and details are all stored in this database for future reference and easy access.

Check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine for more career advice and recruiting trends:

But do recruiters leverage their ATSs to the extent that salespeople leverage their CRMs? Not always. Often, hiring data simply sits in an ATS, rarely if ever used again. That’s a shame, because smart use of an ATS can save a company a lot of time and money when it comes to sourcing prospects and converting them into new hires. In the same way that salespeople nurture relationships with the customers in their CRMs, recruiters could nurture relationships with the candidates in their ATSs. On an immediately practical level, an ATS can help recruiters keep track of where candidates are finding their job ads. That’s important, because this data can help companies determine which channels have the most success and eliminate spend on those channels that aren’t driving results.

Understand the Importance of Communication and Empathy

In sales, there is no skill more crucial than effective communication. Great salespeople know the best way to make a connection with a prospect is through listening, understanding their needs, and then offering a relevant solution for their problems.

Recruiting operates similarly. Like a prospective customer, a prospective candidate is out researching companies, looking for information (like benefits, work/life balance, and compensation) that will help them make a decision about where to apply. Successful recruiters must act like successful salespeople here: They should be listening to their candidates, trying to understand what they currently lack, and then presenting the organization’s opportunities in a way that would meet the candidate’s needs. The more a recruiter communicates with a candidate, the more a candidate’s interest in the position grows. They’ll feel more valued by the recruiter and the company and, therefore, more motivated to land a job with the organization.

However, for both recruiters and salespeople, it is sometimes the case that the role or product they have to offer is not the best solution for a prospect’s problem. It is important to be okay with that; sometimes, the customer or new hire just wasn’t meant to be. Showing empathy is vital here; some day, a new product or role may come along that is the right fit, and you want that prospect to be willing to return to you.

Salespeople and recruiters both have a tough job: finding opportunities, building and maintaining relationships, and closing deals. However, by utilizing some of the tried and true tactics of salespeople, recruiters can make their lives a little easier — and help their companies secure even better talent.

Matt Thomas is the president and founder of WorkSmart Systems, Inc. 

By Matt Thomas